The service has been featured at FIFA events before but Qatar’s opening match at the FIFA Arab Cup was the first time it was made available in the Arabic language.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC (Q22) with Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Translation and Interpreting Institute (TII) and the Centre for Access to Football in Europe have announced the second version of the football commentary training program for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The program will provide blind and partially-sighted fans an opportunity to enjoy the international event, by administering potential candidates to provide audio descriptive commentary in the World Cup upon taking the intensive training workshop. The training courses will be held at TII premises at HBKU.
Tournament organisers are looking for both Arabic and English speakers for the project. The program will offer free training sessions, from 19th of March until the 10th of October. Applicants must submit a 60-second audio recording of themselves commentating on a football match of their choice, in either the Arabic or English language. Candidate will be assessed based on their overall “aptitude for commentating and the quality of the audio recording,” reports noted.
FIFA has provided audio descriptive commentary at major tournaments since 2014. This inclusive-promoting project, however, was first witnessed in Arabic during last year’s FIFA Arab Cup, which was hosted by Qatar.
During the opening ceremony of the Arab Cup in 2021 Faisal Al-Kohaji, was able to watch the match between his country and Bahrain through an audio descriptive commentary delivered via an app on his phone. Using his own headphones, Al-Kohaji had access to an “Arabic-speaking commentator describe the opening ceremony and match in great detail, including important information about the stadium’s ambience and even the players’ facial reactions,” FIFA reported.
Q22 Sustainability Senior Manager, Jose Retana, said “after a successful trial run at select matches during the FIFA Arab Cup, we are keen to provide audio descriptive commentary on a wider scale during Qatar 2022. Having the ability to provide the service in the Arabic language encapsulates the legacy this World Cup is going to deliver,” according to reports.
Al Kohaji explained, “when going to stadiums in the past, I have had to rely on the description of a sighted friend or make do by listening to a time-delayed video of the match on my phone. This technology, however, allows me to enjoy the action on the pitch in the same way that everyone else does,” FIFA added.
Football fans can benefit from the service by downloading the ‘FIFA Interpreting’ application to their personal devices. The service provides “detailed play-by-play updates, including the reaction on players’ faces and the atmosphere in the stadium,” the report added.